A German pharmaceutical firm has announced plans to enter the Kenyan market targeting health facilities and medical staff with its range of disinfectants.
Dr Schumacher has partnered with Pharmaken Ltd, winner of last year’s Business Daily sponsored Top 100 competition for small and medium sized enterprises, to exclusively retail in Kenya hygiene products and disinfectants used on hospital surfaces, surgical tools and by medical staff to kill germs and control infection.
The family-owned company sees a huge market in Kenya and the region, in line with the growing demand for healthcare services.
“There are many opportunities for our products and especially for the innovative ones. This partnership with Pharmaken could become our flagship co-operation in Africa,” said Martin Orlick, the sales manager at Dr Schumacher.
Mr Orlick declined to reveal how much the German pharma is spending to enter the local market, saying that Dr Schumacher and Pharmaken will “share all investments.”
Dr Schumacher exports disinfectants for skin, hands, instruments and surfaces to more than 68 countries globally and is now eying African markets for growth.
Its entry into the local market puts the German firm in a head-to-head battle with French company Anios as well as local players such as Biodeal Laboratories, Orbit Chemical Industries, Canon Chemicals, Kronex Chemicals, and Osho Chemical who retail disinfectants in the Kenyan market.
Pharmaken co-founder Samier Muravvej said the disinfectants are meant to tackle hospital-acquired infections, technically known as nosocomial infections, by ensuring health facilities are sterile.
“By disinfecting surfaces and tools, it helps reduce and control cases where people get infections in hospitals adding another burden to patients,” said Dr Muravvej in an interview.
Dr Muravvej said the incoming range of Dr Schumacher hygiene products seeks to replace the common use of soap, bleaches and spirit to clean hospital surfaces. “Such products are not tested and certified, are corrosive and may cause irritation to the eye, skin,” said Dr Muravvej.
Dr Schumacher said that it may enter into a joint venture with Pharmaken ‘in the near future’ to locally refill its disinfectants in Kenya.
The global demand for disinfectants has grown on the back of emerging viral infections such as Ebola, which are spread through body contact.
Pharmaken’s revenue hit $5 million (Sh500 million) last year.
The company is banking on the new line of infection control products to grow sales.
The Mombasa-based pharmaceutical retailer currently has a portfolio of 18 products including prescription drugs, medical and dental equipment as well as non-pharmaceutical products such as gloves and syringes.